Areas of the country that the Census Bureau has deemed “hard to count” have below-average response rates in the 2010 Census so far, according to a new analysis of participation rates by the Center for Urban Research at the City University of New York Graduate Center.

The bureau produced a score for every census tract in the country that predicts how hard it will be to get an accurate count of its residents. The score, which was based on housing, demographic and socioeconomic variables correlated with poor response in previous censuses, was intended to help the government and its partners target census-promotion efforts. It “seems to be a good predictor” of response rates, the analysis concludes.

The analysis also examines participation rates by geography and race, and reports that “a handful of counties already have exceeded their 2000 participation rates.”